Students Staff

Research degrees

Apply online

Study with us

Apply now to study for one of our postgraduate courses. Remember to check all the application requirements and documents needed before you apply.

We are currently inviting applications for two funded three-year PhD scholarships.

One in the field of Social Work, and one in the field of either Mental Health, Professional Education or Social studies of Health.

ESRC Studentships - Update

All ESRC funded PhD studentships for academic year 2016 intake have already been awarded. For academic year 2017 intake new application processes are being developed. Information on the new procedures will be updated in due course.

Masters courses associated with doctoral pathways

PhD, MPhil, Masters by Dissertation

We offer research degrees (PhD, MPhil, Masters by Dissertation) across a range of clinical and non-clinical areas of specialism and we invite applications from all potential students interested in the following areas:

  • Health Studies
  • Health and Organisational Research
  • Health Research
  • Public Health
  • Social Policy
  • Applied Psychology (PhD and MPhil only)
  • Nursing Studies
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy

You can also see our staff research interests on the individual staff profiles. If you are looking to carry out research in a different area to those listed, please contact us to discuss this further.

  • Research supervision

    We provide supervision for postgraduate research at the following three levels:


    Supervisory arrangements for PhDs typically involve dual supervision: a principal supervisor with whom you have frequent contact and a secondary supervisor. We draw upon supervisory expertise in clinical areas, research methodologies, social sciences and management systems. You may register to study full-time (normally three years) or part-time (six years).


    The MPhil may be studied two years full-time or four years part-time. The same supervisory and other arrangements as described for PhD students apply. The MPhil may be studied two years full-time or four years part-time.

    Masters (MSc) by Dissertation

    If you are an MSc by Dissertation student, you have one principal supervisor who has a particular interest in your area of work and, as appropriate, the supervisor may be supported by the input of an additional adviser. If you require research training you should expect to be able to attend a core research methods course (although you are not expected to produce assessed work for the course). You are also welcome to participate in and present work at the School seminar series. You can study the Masters by Dissertation in one year full-time or two years part-time.

    Please note: It is the policy of the University to register all PhD students initially as MPhil/PhD students. Assuming progress is satisfactory, confirmation of PhD study normally occurs in the first half of the second year for full-time students or in the second half of the third year for part-time students.

  • Entry requirements and the application process

    How do I choose a supervisor?

    See our staff research interests to find out what specific areas of interest we cover. We welcome preliminary enquiries through the Graduate Administrator. We encourage a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.

    Making an application

    To make a full application, you will need to:

    • complete the University's online application form
    • pass the letter to referees (.docx) and entrance requirements (.pdf) to two referee(s) of your choice. Fill in your name, address and degree you have applied for at the bottom of each referee letter. We require one reference for taught Masters applications and two references for all other research degree applications.
    • provide details of your qualifications and work experience, a separate CV is acceptable

    It is advisable to contact your referees before sending the letters in case they are unable to write on your behalf. We are not able to process your application until your references have been received. If, at the time of applying, you are in the final stages of another course, please ensure that you inform us of your result when known.

    Application checklists

    Interview process

    As part of the decision making process, applicants will be required to participate in an interview before a formal offer is made.

    The purposes of this interview are:

    • To assess your suitability to undertake the programme
    • To meet your potential supervisor(s)
    • To provide an opportunity to discuss your proposed research in greater detail
    • To answer any question you may have about the programme and university
    Detailed information about the format of the interview will be provided to candidates in advance of the meeting. International students/those who cannot easily make a day trip to the university will be offered an interview via telephone or Skype.

  • Research training, professional development and support


    Transferable employability skills for PhD graduates are critical, as they enable you to work effectively within industry as well as academia. Proficio is designed to provide you as doctoral researcher with unique opportunities to acquire a set of specialist professional skills and deepen and expand your subject knowledge, at all stages of your career.

    You can use Proficio to search and book onto a range of courses available across our campuses. You can develop your research skills, manage your PhD, develop your career potential, and meet and collaborate with students and staff. Improve your career prospects and challenge yourself as you work towards completing your doctorate.

    School events

    There are also many events and seminars run by the School, and by other departments within the University, which are not only a great way to network but also share your research. We encourage all research students to present at the departmental seminars.

    The annual research student conference, which takes place in the summer term, gives all research students the opportunity to present their work to staff and fellow students.

    The University's Learning and Development Unit also offer a comprehensive programme of development courses.

  • Funding

    A number of student scholarships and funding opportunities are available.

For further information please contact:

Senior Student Administrator

School of Health and Social Care

University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park

Colchester CO4 3SQ

Telephone +44 (0)1206 873375